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City officials decide to go with highest bid on tight 4-3 vote
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Riverfront Park improvements will move forward with Tri-State Development performing the work, which is scheduled for completion in mid-September.
McMinnville officials accepted a Parks and Recreation Committee recommendation to go with Tri-State with a vote of 4-3. Voting in favor were Aldermen Billy Wood, Mike Neal, Rick Barnes and Jimmy Bonner, while Mayor Jimmy Haley, Vice Mayor Ben Newman and Alderman Ken Smith voted against it.
Splitting the board was the committee’s recommendation to go with Tri-State with a bid of $92,750 over a lower bid from Waymon Hale Construction at $89,107 – a $3,643 difference.
Prior to the vote, Parks and Recreation director Scott McCord explained to the board the bid information packages presented by Tri-State and Waymon Hale were reviewed, with Tri-State thought to include more of what the city requested, making it the best bid.
“Both these companies are local, fine companies,” McCord said. “Either one could do the job, but there were certain criteria that was required in the bid and the evaluation committee felt that Tri-State met all the requested information we required.”
“But, it was a higher bid,” said Haley.
McCord replied, “Yes, it was.”
Committee members Aldermen Billy Wood and Mike Neal sent the recommendation to go with Tri-State to the full board last month. Newman, also a committee member, abstained from the vote, stating he believed there was a conflict of interest that required him to do so.
Newman says he sought advice from city attorney Tim Pirtle and was told there was no conflict that would prevent him from voting, which is why he decided to vote when the measure was considered by the board.
“I abstained in committee,” Newman said. “I did that without consulting our legal counsel and I did that because I represented one of the two companies in a non-construction issue. I have since consulted with Mr. Pirtle and there is no conflict.”
A two-week delay in passing the board means work will not begin July 16 and the original completion date of Aug. 30 will be pushed back, says McCord.
“The original completion date was set given approval by the board on June 26,” he said. “We weren’t able to get on the committee’s agenda in time. Because the award date was pushed back two weeks, the deadline will be pushed back two weeks. The deadline for work completion will be the middle of September.”
Funding for the project comes from a Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency grant obtained in 2009 to construct two docks, a boat ramp, apply gravel to the parking area, and stabilize river frontage.